Sunday, April 05, 2009

Different Browser - Different Google - Same Computer

Just wondering why when I search in Google on the same computer with two different browsers I get different search results for some keywords. I thought Mozilla was off in the past and IE was correct. Now I'm not sure anymore. I know all caching is turned off on my machine. I also turned off a bunch of add-ons and even uninstalled Google toolbar to see if that made a difference. What in the world is going Google displaying different results based on user agent? Is my ISP caching results? Is IE8 doing something weird? What?

I looked further and have something called Search Wiki running. I am not sure how that got onto my computer. Did I install it? I don't remember installing it...The strange thing is it used to only be in Firefox - now it's in IE 8 but it's no longer in Firefox. When I choose to move pages up or down using Search Wiki it totally skews Google results across searches I didn't alter and removes other pages I haven't removed from the search results as well.

I can see pros and cons of this application. The biggest con of all would be someone altering a person's search results on their computer to make them think they have #1 Google rankings when they don't. Con as in con man. But this tool does have some useful application like blocking out sites from search results you don't like. Problem with that is it pretty much skews all your search results across broad categories of pages which I'm not sure is a good thing since Googles search algorithms already work pretty well. I found using search after that had some problems when the results were skewed.